Monday, November 8, 2010

Dawn to dusk - and damning Apple (or not!)

Dawn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Freezing, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Frosty, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are three photographs from today, dawn to dusk. The work day was in between; length of day is now 8 h 4 min. Here is a quote which I think fits these views, seen practically every day: "The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." (Haven't checked who has said this; found it in a book today.)

Andreas Manessinger wrote a posting on the iPad (and related devices), in which he managed both praise and damn Apple. Here is a quote concerning the iPad: "There is simply some magic in this device. If you have never tried it, please do. Try to scroll with a flick of your finger and marvel at how responsive the iPad is, and how direct your control of it is. Marvelous! You conduct, the iPad sings."

And here is some of the criticism: "I am totally fascinated by something made by a company that I absolutely dislike for their totalitarian control of computer users, or as they see it, “customers”. I don’t want to be turned into a customer."

I don't have an iPhone or an iPad, and have never in fact used either of them, so I can't comment on this front. But my attitude towards Apple is quite different - I'm happy to be just a customer. I guess I'm not a tinkerer, I just want something that works (most of the time).

I have used Macs almost since they came out in mid-1980s. I bought my first - a Mac Plus - in 1987, and have used Macs ever since. However, if the Unix-based Mac OS X wouldn't have come out in 2001, I would probably be a Windows user by now. Fortunately this in not the case, I'm a happy Mac user still. (However, I view iPads and iPhones as unnecessary luxuries.)

I feel as if in the early 1980s there was a memo, which was read by the people at Apple (concerning Xerox PARC and such stuff), but which happened to lay down in the rain the the gutter and get smudgy and corrupted before reaching Microsoft. So, what Apple did, it worked; but what Microsoft did, more or less sucked, and at least was a slightly brain dead implementation of the good ideas in the memo.

And things have been like that for decades. Every time I have used Windows I feel there is a zombie-like thing happening somewhere, not a thing to enjoy in the long run. But this is just a personal feeling, I have nothing against Microsoft as a company - it is doing a good job as a company, the same as Apple is doing, being a company.

I guess what the real reason behind the "brain dead" thing is that Apple is a device company, Microsoft a software company. And software is something that mostly doesn't work as it should. There is something deeply wrong with the way we develop software, the way the software industry works. On the other hand, devices are something which is much more concrete, and thus they are not always as bad as they could be if you left software people in charge.


Richard Beddard said...

I think all three are beautiful and go really well together.

John said...

I've been a Windows/Microsoft guy since the 80s - never could get into the Apple scene, mostly because everywhere I worked it was either Windows or Mainframes. Never was really exposed to Macs until several years ago at a job. Well, sorry to say, I was underwhelmed by the experience and decided Macs just weren't my thing. Of course, I've been a Windows Developer/Admin for most of those years, so I'm biased.

And now it appears Microsoft finally got it right with Windows 7. It's a very nice platform - so, now I have even less of a reason to consider switching.

I think the problem with software development is the sense of urgency a company feels to get it to market, instead of getting it right first. We, the users, frequently turn out to be 'beta' testers even with the 'final' released product, hence all the patches and updates between new releases.

Nice shots as usual!


Anonymous said...

"Frosty" is beautiful and cool :)
I like the blue tone.

Yep, Win 7 is nice.



Juha Haataja said...


Indeed, Windows 7 seems to be finally a competent implementation of "the memo". Not bad. I have the problem of never being much of a Windows user, so the learning curve in switching would be quite high.

Anyway, what is good that finally we do have some real choices.

John Sullivan said...

"I just want something that works"

The very phrase that you use is borne of the 'it just works' spiel trotted out by Apple PR. Apple users use this all the time without even seeming to realise that its been planted in their heads.

I similarly dislike Apple for their totalitarian approach. I have used Mac on the desktop since OS 8.5 for graphic design jobs that had to be printed externally and currently have Leopard installed on an iMac. I've also used Windows over that period. I don't think I'll be buying another Mac. With the introduction of InDesign, OpenType fonts and PDF's there is nothing I can do on the design front on a Mac that I can't do on Windows. When it comes to the user experience, I simply prefer the Microsoft platform and the hardware configuration is one that suits me, not Steve Jobs.

As for the iPad, I'm sure its nice to play with, but I've no great urge to go out and buy one. I don't like the idea of what apps I can use being vetted by Apple.

Juha Haataja said...

@John: Sometimes what the marketers are saying may actually have some basis in reality.

Yesterday a colleague surprisingly had an iPad which he uses to make presentations (PowerPoint), and said: "I have now become an Apple believer." And very smoothly he used the iPad, indeed. He used to be a dedicated Windows user...

And alhthough Finland is a Nokia country, I'm sad to see how hard the Nokia smartphones are in practice to use - Apple seems to have got the touch interface right, others not so.

That said, I don't have an iPhone or iPad, so who I am to write about this stuff?